对华贸易僵局之下,美国大豆卖给谁?

英国《金融时报》 格雷戈里•梅耶 纽约报道
2019.05.15 12:00

2月下旬,面临一周后的截止期限(该期限后来被延后),美中谈判代表们投入紧张谈判。当时美国农业部(USDA)一位高官解释了他希望从协议中得到的结果。

“我认为,我们将看到自由、平等和互惠的贸易,”美国农业部负责贸易和对外农业事务的副部长泰德•麦金尼(Ted McKinney)告诉记者。

如果说目标是自由贸易,那么白宫正在走迂回路线。上周,唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)把针对2000亿美元中国输美商品的关税提高至25%,他当时宣布,将利用关税所得买下过剩的农产品,并将其发运至“饥饿国家”作为人道主义援助。美国农业部很快宣布正在制定计划。

在世界两大经济体爆发争端一年后,拟议中的政府粮食采购计划将农产品市场进一步推入未知领域。周一,大豆期货价格触及逾10年新低,当日下跌2.1%,至每蒲式耳7.805美元。

去年秋季,美国对华大豆出口实际上已枯竭,此前中国政府对美国大豆加征25%关税。自去年12月(当时贸易谈判重启)以来,为表达善意,中国承诺购买2000万吨美国大豆。此后已有大约560万吨大豆从美国港口启运。

另外740万吨已经售出,但尚未发运。农户现在担心,中国将取消购买。

美国的新关税措施“将延长这场贸易战,”在明尼苏达州南部2000英亩的土地上种植玉米和大豆的比尔•戈登(Bill Gordon)表示,“我们已在损失。这将延长痛苦,我们之中没几个人能够撑下去。”

去年,美国政府意识到农户的困境,批准了120亿美元的纾困计划,包括向大豆种植户发放高达72亿美元的补贴。政府还批准购买12亿美元的食品捐赠给国内慈善机构。

美国农业部在上周的月度供需预估中表示,在下个收割季到来之前,美国大豆库存将同比增长一倍多,至2710万吨。一年后,到2020年8月,大豆库存可能仍会保持在2640万吨的高位,是过去5年平均水平的4倍。

从现实的视角看,通过捐赠给外国来减少这么多的过剩大豆将是一项巨大的任务。根据上月提交美国国会的一份报告,2017财年,美国政府向尼日利亚、南苏丹和也门等63个国家的受援机构提供了180万吨粮食。近一半为小麦。

美国农户种植的多数大豆并非供人类食用,而是要在工业化加工厂被碾碎,制成动物饲料和植物油。

位于罗马的联合国粮农组织(FAO)粮食分析师阿普杜勒礼萨•阿巴斯安(Abdolreza Abbassian)表示:“我不认为,粮食受援者曾经需要大豆或者以任何方式进入大豆市场。”

总部位于华盛顿的国际食品政策研究院(IFPRI)的保罗•多罗什(Paul Dorosh)表示,一些大豆被加工成食品,让营养不良的婴幼儿食用,但这种所谓的玉米大豆混合物的数量“很少”。

今年,美国已根据国际协议《粮食援助公约》(Food Assistance Convention)承诺提供35亿美元的粮食援助。该公约的一条原则是建议成员国“在适当情况下尽可能在当地或本地区采购粮食和粮食援助的其他部分”,而不是从海外进口食品。

根据美国国会研究服务部(Congressional Research Service)的一份报告,美国联邦法律还规定,美国政府有义务分析受援国是否有能力储存入境的粮食(以防腐烂),还应评估粮食援助是否会损害当地农民的利益。

专家们表示,其他农产品出口国可能反对任何援助计划,视其为世贸组织(WTO)规则所禁止的出口补贴。

身为国际食品政策研究院发展战略和治理部门主管的多罗什表示:“找到合适的粮食援助对象,使援助得到妥善利用,同时不会打击受援国的本土市场——那将是非常困难的。”

在每年的这个时候,中国在放弃美国大豆市场方面有更大余地,因为南美两大大豆生产国阿根廷和巴西正在收割。

与此同时,美国农业部的对外农业服务局(FAS)在一份简报中表示,非洲猪瘟的蔓延正使中国生猪数量大幅下降,在截至2020年的3年里消除4200万吨的大豆进口需求。简报称:“中国的非洲猪瘟疫情将是全球油籽(尤其是大豆)行业的游戏规则改变者。”

猪瘟疫情的影响提振了希望向中国供应的肉类厂商的前景。美国全国猪肉生产者委员会(National Pork Producers Council)支持特朗普设想的食品援助计划,辩称猪肉“应该会帮助那些有需要的人们,否则他们无法获得这么高质量的美国蛋白质。”

其他农户则不那么热情。

“农户不想要政府的补贴,”戈登表示,他也是行业组织美国大豆协会(American Soybean Association)的副总裁,“我们种植了庄稼,希望得到公允价格。让我们竞争吧。”

译者/梁艳裳

以下为此文英文原文:Trump crop aid to ‘starving countries’ faces obstacles

By Gregory Meyer in New York

In late February, with American and Chinese diplomats enmeshed in trade talks a week before a since-extended deadline, a top US agriculture official explained what he hoped would result from a deal.

“I think we’ll see free, fair and reciprocal trade,” Ted McKinney, undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, told reporters.

If free trade is the goal, the White House is taking a roundabout route. As Donald Trump raised tariffs to 25 per cent on $200bn worth of  Chinese imports last week, the US president declared he would use the proceeds to buy up surplus agricultural products and ship them to “starving countries” as humanitarian aid. The US agriculture department soon announced it was readying a plan.

The proposed state crop purchases pushed agricultural markets further into uncharted waters a year after the dispute flared between the world’s two largest economies. Soyabean futures marked a new more-than-10-year low in Chicago on Monday, tumbling 2.1 per cent to $7.805 a bushel.

US soyabean shipments to China effectively dried up last autumn after Beijing hit them with a 25 per cent tariff. Since December, when trade talks restarted, China committed to buy 20m tonnes in a sign of goodwill. About 5.6m tonnes have since left US ports.

Another 7.4m tonnes have been sold but not yet shipped. Farmers now fret that China will cancel the sales.

The new US tariffs are “going to extend this trade war,” said Bill Gordon, who farms corn and soyabeans on 2,000 acres in southern Minnesota. “We’re already bleeding. It’s going to prolong that haemorrhage and not a lot of us are going to be able to make it.”

Recognising the farmers’ plight, the US government last year authorised a $12bn bailout programme that included up to $7.2bn in payments for soyabean growers. The US also approved the purchase of $1.2bn of foods for donation to  domestic charities.

US soyabean stocks left over before harvest will more than double year-on-year to 27.1m tonnes before the next harvest, the USDA said in monthly supply and demand estimates last week. A year later, in August 2020, stocks are likely to remain a stubbornly high 26.4m tonnes – four times the average over the past five years.

As a practical matter, cutting down this multimillion tonne soyabean surplus by donating it to foreign countries would be a monumental task. In fiscal 2017 the government gave a total of 1.8m tonnes of food commodities to recipients in 63 countries including Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen, according to a report to Congress last month. Almost half the shipments were wheat.

Most of the yellow soyabeans grown by US farmers are not ingested by people. Instead they are crushed at industrial processing plants into animal feed and vegetable oil.

“I don’t think that any food aid recipient in the past needed, or in any way was in the market, for soyabeans,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, grain analyst at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.

Paul Dorosh of the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), said that some soyabeans are processed into a food product for malnourished babies and young children, but the volume of this so-called corn-soyabean blend was “tiny.”

The US had already committed $3.5bn to food aid this year under the Food Assistance Convention, an international agreement. Among the convention’s principles are one advising members to “purchase food and other components of food assistance locally or regionally, whenever possible and appropriate,” as opposed to importing food from overseas.

US federal law also requires an analysis of whether the receiving country would be able to store the inbound foodstuffs, to prevent them from rotting, and for the US to assess whether the aid would undermine local farmers, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

Rival agricultural exporters could raise objections to any programme as export subsidies, which are banned under World Trade Organization rules, experts said. 

“Finding an appropriate outlet in terms of food aid that wouldn’t depress local markets of recipient countries and could be well used — that would be very difficult,” said Mr Dorosh, director of IFPRI’s development strategy and governance division. 

China has more leeway to abandon the US soyabean market at this time of the year because big crops are being gathered in Argentina and Brazil, the two leading South American producers.

Meanwhile, the spread of  African swine fever is decimating China’s pig herds, wiping out 42m tonnes of soyabean import demand over the three years to 2020, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service said in a note. “African swine fever in China will be a game changer for the global oilseed complex, and soyabeans in particular,” it said.

The toll of the outbreak has lifted prospects for meat producers hoping to supply China. The National Pork Producers Council, a US pig farming group, embraced Mr Trump’s envisaged food aid package, arguing that pork “should help people in need who otherwise would not have access to this high-quality US protein”.

Other farmers are less effusive.

“‘Farmers do not want a handout from the government,” said Mr Gordon, who is also vice-president at the American Soybean Association, a trade group. “We raise a product and want a fair price for it. Let us compete.”


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